Energy Voice | Carbon capture back on agenda

Carbon capture and storage is back on track for a full-scale scheme to open in the 2030s, according to the UK Government.

The north-east was dealt a major blow when £1 billion plans for a carbon capture & storage (CCS) plant at Peterhead were dumped by then-chancellor George Osborne in 2015.

Now, plans for another north-east CCS scheme, the Acorn Project at St Fergus, could flourish.

The announcement of a major report being launched next month was made at the Carbon Capture & Storage Association (CCSA) president’s reception at Westminster yesterday.

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) CCS director Ashley Ibbett announced the CCS cross-challenge taskforce report will be published next year.

Mr Ibbett also confirmed Scottish companies were involved in plans to launch full-scale CCS projects in the 2030s.

“We need CCS deployed cost-effectively and on a large scale,” he said. “Scotland recognises this value and Scottish companies are testing how CCS can support existing industry.

“Next year the CCS cross challenge taskforce will be published and, by the end of the year, we plan to respond to the taskforce and set out steps to realise our ambition to develop CCS at scale during the 2030s.”

The Acorn project, run by Pale Blue Dot Energy, now hopes to get £250m government funding to launch a medium-sized CCS project at St Fergus in 2023, which could be scaled up to hit the government’s planned timescale.

Pale Blue Dot finance director Stephen Murray said he was “cautiously optimistic” about government support for the company’s current feasibility study growing in future.

He said: “What we’re missing at the moment is simply a revenue model, such as the feed-in tariffs we had for wind and solar. That piece is missing.”

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